2016 M. Chapoutier ‘Ermitage Le Meal’ Rouge Northern Rhone
Decanter - "From a very steep southern exposure, aged in 25% new oak for 18 months. This wine is relatively dark, brooding and intense in terms of aromatics, and very full-bodied and broad on the palate, with a creamy texture. Searingly powerful acidity balances the huge, monolithic style this year, accompanied by wonderful serrated tannins and an intense mineral grind. A screaming pope of a wine. Drinking Window 2029 - 2050"
Jeb Dunnuck - "More ripe and flamboyant, the 2016 Ermitage Le Méal has a beautifully rounded, voluptuous yet pure style that's very much in the vintage. Black raspberries, spice, dried flowers, and a touch of minerality all emerge from this incredibly sexy, seamless beauty that has enough tannins and depth to keep for 2-3 decades. It's an opulent, hedonistic dream of a wine to enjoy over the coming 2-3 decades."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - "Attractively bright and fresh on the nose, the 2016 Ermitage le Meal is full-bodied yet creamy and supple in feel. Because of its greater level of ripeness, Chapoutier explains that it's aged in 50% demi-muids to lessen the oak influence, and indeed the wine isn't cedary at all. Espresso and mocha shadings give a savory cast to the bold blackberry fruit, while the texture turns to pure velvet on the long finish."
James Suckling - "My pick of the Chapoutier litter, this has excelled in 2016. Focused, lemon and lime-peel aromas, as well as peaches, apple blossom and wet stones. The palate offers a scintillatingly intense and concentrated array of citrus and stone fruit. Full of power and very long with great acidity. A real thrill. From organically grown grapes. Barrel Sample: 96-97"
Wine Enthusiast - "Initial notes of smoke and earth dissipate with aeration to reveal perfumed notes of quince, ginger and pear. It's a rich, expansive white made from 100-year-old Marsanne grapes grown on the chalk and alluvial soils of the Le Méal vineyard. In youth, it offers pristine orchard fruit and spice, but it's a wine that's better left till 2022 at least. It will reward cellaring for decades. 300 cases produced."